Wednesday, 4 November 2009

French Punk: Lucrate Milk

Put away children and grandmothers, we're talking about eating poo here.

Ok, I started by saying “Lucrate Milk were/are largely despised in the rock circles of France”. Well actually, it’s not totally true. For something like 15 years, they were more forgotten than actually despised.

One thing is Lucrate Milk are one of the roots of Bérurier Noirs. I will talk about them later. And they are actually quite despised in rock circles (a bit like Crass in the UK).

The other thing is the album and 7” were actually unavailable and impossible to find for quite a long time.

Last thing: Lucrate Milk were quite a multimedia project. And the art side of the band (homemade short and deviant films in support for their music) is in the direct idea of what can be punk art. And that art side is what made them be rediscovered a few years ago.

Let’s take that a little earlier. We have seen, France didn’t have a proper punk band for quite long. But there did exist a real punk art.

I didn’t talk about it before ‘cause me ain’t no art student, matey, but there was a graphics band called Bazooka, doing some pre Gee Voucher’s Gee Voucher collage style. Don’t know that much about it, but they succeeded in being invited by the newspaper Libération (then closer to Class War that to the New Labour) to illustrate some articles. It ended up with “shocking” nihilistic humour drawings about paedophilia and concentration camp.

Ok, kind of what you expect from punk artists on acid.

I found Bazooka’s art nowadays quite… let’s say, old fashioned. You have to know well the politic climate of France during the 70’s to get all their stuff. Otherwise it’s look a bit “Look mum, shocking!!!!”

Anyway, those guys finished by gaining a cult following in the autonomy and graphics/design circles (you know the same kind of guy who, in London, works in Shoreditch in those fancy art design workshops, reading Vice and doing skate. You know what I’m talking about –hipster is the word, isn’t it? -)

BTW those guys from Bazooka are still doing some stuff on internet (Disclaimer: a really good level of French is necessary to understand everything)

Back to Lucrate, now.

So Lucrate Milk was a bit like Bazooka, doing design/art/graphics stuff. And punk music.

The Parisian punk scene of that time was totally transformed when you compare it to my first part.

First, some squats were now open and arty punk friendly, lots of peoples start to get into (UK) punk, often from the automony circles/situationist legacy. So there was a long tradition of disturbing/alternative happening/art/concept etc etc.

Punk bands now have some places to play, to discover other stuff, exchange ideas and members, finally creating a whole DIY network. And let’s be honest, Lucrate Milk were their best representant.

Started half as a joke (the musicians chose their instrument by taking the one they hated the most), without a guitar and with a German singer, taking inspiration from Teenage Jesus and The Jerks, opening for Einsturzende Neubauten and Sonic Youth, doing absurd arty b-movies with sex, violence and guts and making their live shows look like weird happenings, Lucrate Milk ended up half DIY arty show for freaks, half end-of-year spectacle for punks on glue.

I imagine you start to be suspicious about the music: if the story sounds amazing and the references are great, the music will be a horribly boring muzak.

BUT, for once, the music is as good as the story. Definitely one of the best post-punk band ever: Gang Of Four/Delta 5/Leeds style basslines with Malaria! singing meets Resident's keyboard and some kind of pre Death Sentence: Panda! feverish sax melodies. It’s absurd, short, violent, brilliant and funny, like your mate puking on himself.

After 3 years of that, two 7” and one album, they finished to disband and enter into legend.

Not yet, but some of them will end up in Bérurier Noirs, creating a little cult following which led to some reissues. The last of them, on Folklore de la Zone Mondiale, the post-Beru label (the very French Southern in that sense), is an integral with some bullshit remix (the remix CD is one of the most useless stuff I ever heard) and a DVD with lots of stupid stuff on it, like Bazooka could have done if those lazy fuckers have bought a camera instead of playing baby foot and smoking weed. And much of that DVD did a lot for the “rediscovery” of Lucrate Milk (right, so nobody know them, but it was worse before!). Bit of a shame, really, the music is still much better than some stoned jokes on videos. (Which is still funny to watch, though)

( it's a shame, I can't find the one with the famous poo-eating scene)

No comments:

Post a Comment